Controlled Burn Torches 100 Acres of Valley Forge Park

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (WPVI) -- It's rarely a good thing when "fire" and "National Park" are mentioned in the same sentence, but this is among the exceptions.

100 acres of Valley Forge National Historical Park went up in flames as part of a scheduled controlled burn on Tuesday.

Jonathan Parker, the park's public information officer, says these events are important to maintain the health of the park's meadows.

He says, "Valley Forge is home to the largest contiguous meadows in the five counties around Philadelphia, about 1500 acres and there is remarkable bio-diversity here for plants and for animals, and by using fire as a management tool we are able to combat encroachment from invasive species, provide better habitat for ground-nesting birds, and just support the overall health of the meadow."

Originally, the plan was to torch 135 acres Tuesday through Wednesday, but officials decided the windy conditions make it unsafe to go any further than 100 acres. Wednesday's burn has been canceled as a result.

The section that was burned Tuesday included the area between Gulph Road and Route 23.

Prescribed fires have become a spring-time tradition at Valley Forge since 2014, and officials encourage people from across the Delaware Valley to check it out some time.

Parker says, "It's an opportunity to come out and see a pretty unique experience, especially in the eastern part of the country, to see fire at a National Park and understand why we do it."

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Controlled burn at Valley Forge: Sarah Bloomquist reports during Action News at Noon on April 11, 2018.

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